Be prepared: Get the free Red Cross Tornado App


tonado-appHere in New England, tornadoes aren’t the norm — but we do have occurrences, as was seen in Revere this week, along with several other sightings. There have been 162 tornadoes in Massachusetts alone since 1950, according to the National Weather Service – Boston.com has a roundup of Tornadoes of Massachusetts Past. Springfield is still recovering from the June 1, 2011 tornado, in which three were killed. And the older crowd among us may recall the horrific tornado in Worcester in 1953, which killed 93. Wikipedia has a historical roundup of Tornadoes in New England

With the rarity of events, tornadoes are not top of mind awareness for people when bad weather looms. Get the free Red Cross Tornado app to have everything you need to know to prepare for a tornado in the palm of your hand. To download: text “GETNADO” to 90999 or search “Red Cross Tornado” in the Apple App Store or Google Play.

Some of the app features include:

  • Step-by-step instructions to help you know what-to-do even if the cell towers and TVs are down. Prioritized actions for before, during, and after requires no mobile connectivity.
  • Audible siren that automatically goes off even if app is closed when NOAA issues a TORNADO WARNING helping to reduce the chance of sleeping through an actual warning.
  • Push notification sent when a WARNING expires – especially important if power goes out while you or your family are in your safe room.
  • Info on how to assemble an emergency kit for your family in the event of power outage or evacuation and how to make an emergency plan.
  • Info on the difference between a tornado warning and a tornado alert.
  • Red Cross location-based open shelters map for when you need it most.
  • Learn how to deal with food and water impacted by floods and power outages.
  • Let others know where you are with the Toolkit’s strobe light, flashlight and audible alert functions.

Aftermath of storms in pictures; also, cellar flooding & insurance links


It’s been an incredible two days of rain, storms, flooding and tornado warnings here in New England. Yesterday, there was a confirmed tornado in Wolcott CT (see video) and the National Weather Service is investigating whether a tornado occurred in Revere today. (Update: Revere tornado confirmed – see a video of damage.)

Hopefully, your damage isn’t too bad but one thing seems apparent: many communities are suffering damage from flash floods. We note a lot of traffic to our blog posts about problems in the home – here are links if you need them: Water in the basement: What does insurance cover? and Does homeowners insurance cover a flooded basement?

Meanwhile, we’ve embedded some tweets with visuals of the damage below – see more photos of Revere damage as photos are posted on Twitter.

Celebrate National Blueberry Month


blueberries

July is National Blueberry Month – and they’re in season locally right now. The wild blueberry is the official fruit of Maine, which produces about 25% of all lowbush blueberries in North America. Blueberries are often called a “superfood” by nutritionists – check out the infographic below to see why. And check out these delicious-sounding recipes and cooking tips. Here’s where to “pick your own” in Massachusetts, in New Hampshire, in Connecticut, in Rhode Island, in Maine, in Vermont.

Click to enlarge – Courtesy of: U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council

blueberry-infographic-a-handful-of-health

The Claim Game: Filing an Auto Claim


car-crash

Filing an auto insurance claim is never fun. But with these simple steps from the Insurance Information Institute, you can save yourself a lot of time and trouble. “The I’s on Insurance: The Claim Game, Auto” will put you on the road to a satisfactory claim filing experience, giving you the basics on what you should know, what your policy covers and the most important information to record when you’re in an accident.

Brief Encounters


We had a good response to our “Dads Changing Diapers” Father’s Day post so as long as fathers are proving a popular topic, we can’t resist these amusing TV ads. Thankfully, we don’t actually know any fathers who do this, but the ads are pretty amusing anyway – it’s a good attention-getting gimmick for the product. Silly fun. For more silly fun, check out our humor archive – much of it related to insurance.